“All roads lead to Rome,” or so I was taught in a middle school history class. Well, if all roads lead to Rome, then the yellow brick road must lead to the gem of Sorrento, Italy. With more lemons than imaginable, boats constantly scattered across the Bay of Naples, and gelaterias only a few doors down from the next, it’s no surprise I’ve already fallen in love with this town. Sorrento definitely delivers as a life-size postcard with its 360-degree picturesque views. With Mount Vesuvius, the island of Capri, and the city of Naples visible across the bay, it’s no wonder I always find myself staring out the window in class, especially since my school is located on the Marina Grande.
The Marina Grande is a colorful strip along the Bay of Naples. With pink and yellow buildings accenting the pristine blue waters, this marina has easily become one of my favorite spots in Sorrento. The Marina Grande was originally a fishermen’s village. Today, remnants of the past can still be seen as local fisherman repair fishing nets amongst tourists sunbathing on the beach. One thing I quickly learned was the Marina Grande is smaller than Marina Piccola, which is ironic because grande means large in Italian and piccola means small. On one of my first days at my internship, I asked one of my supervisors why the names of the two marinas did not correlate to their actual size. However, my supervisor replied he’s been wondering the same thing since he first came to Sorrento. Regardless of the reason, I always find myself soaking up the sunshine on the smaller-sized marina.
I think one of the biggest reasons I adore Sorrento (besides the views and the delicious Italian food) is for the people. The people here are so friendly to both locals and visitors alike. One evening, while a group of friends and I were near the hotel, Bellevue Syrene, we attempted to take a group photo that pictured not only us but also the bay. Within seconds, the doorman standing outside of the hotel walked over and asked if he could take the photo for us. We immediately said he didn’t have to, but he quickly replied, “Please, I want to. It helps my job go by faster when I am doing something.” So, with our iPhone in hand, the doorman began to host a mini photo session for my friends and I. Between telling us how to pose to capturing panoramic pictures of us, he spared no moment trying to capture the perfect angle. Another thing I’ve noticed is the frequent use of the phrase, ciao bella, meaning hello or goodbye beautiful. From the locals on the streets to servers to my supervisors, ciao bella is something you’ll hear quite often.
With cobblestone streets, accordion performances on train rides, and gelato shops around every corner, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to study abroad, especially in Sorrento. Just three years ago, when I was entering my senior year of high school and applying to colleges, I never would’ve imagined that I’d get the opportunity to live in another country temporarily. Let alone, would I ever imagine me agreeing to go abroad. I think that’s one of the biggest lessons students learn from going abroad, you never know what the future holds. And with that, all I can say is, there’s no place like Sorrento.